Successful online experiences enable users (i.e. customers, site visitors, etc.) to accomplish their goals. But oftentimes, in the design process, keeping users’ goals top-of-mind is no easy task.
To overcome this hurdle there is a simple yet effective exercise that ends with what we call a User Story Index. By the name alone you can derive two important facts about the exercise: it is about users (or site visitors) and what they want to accomplish when visiting a Website.
To create a User Story Index with our clients, we begin with a User Story Workshop to gain agreement on:
1. Who are their users (or in other words site visitors)?
2. What are their goals?
3. How can we (the IA/UX team) help users achieve these goals?
Within the workshop, client teams are created based on important user segments (i.e. customers versus prospects) and presented with pre-defined user statements (i.e. I want to find a store in my town) along with several “wild cards.” Teams are challenged to “walk in their users shoes” and over a series of several rounds make trade-off decisions to create a final set of 5-7 goals.
This set then becomes the driver for making subsequent decisions on features (i.e. a store finder) and functions, which are done using a similar process as above.
At the conclusion, teams have agreed on top user goals, how they are prioritized, and what features or functions might be necessary to support those goals. Now, all teams have a consistent set of user guidance to operate within.
So you are probably asking yourself, okay, what’s the big deal? The big deal is simplification. In the end, our clients have a clearer understanding of how to map their business objectives to their customers’ needs to design a user interface that answers the age old question every customer wants the chance to answer, “How can we help you today?”